As Liberians eagerly await the successful holding of their Country’s 2017 general and presidential elections on October 10, 2017, with 28 more days remaining, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf whose presidential exit is getting closer come January, 2018, the President is urging authorities at the National Elections Commission (NEC) to accentuate the importance of the pending elections.
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf who still sees herself an embodiment of Liberia’s current democratic trajectory, wanting to see to best out of the current electioneering process, and therefore urging authorities at the National Elections Commission to exhibit what she called “Defining moment”.
The Liberian leader was speaking Monday, September 11, 2017 at the headquarters of the NEC to commission two of officials as required by law, when she publicly articulated her views, implicitly reminding Commissioners what is required of them in conducting the process on positive note.
Describing the October 2017 elections as a defining moment for Liberia, she said, “I just want to say to all of you – whether you who are leaders, advisors, employees and consultants; that these elections will be a defining moment for our country.”
It is not the first time the president described the votes on October 10 in such manner, which is seen as an expression of her desire for a free, fair and transparent free elections.
According to the Liberian leader who leaves office on the second working Monday in January 2018 when a new president takes office, the elections will determine whether Liberia goes forward and continues to rebuild, reconstruct and promote democracy; or whether we opt to see things going back.
She emphasized the importance of the elections particularly for those who have responsibilities at the level of the National Elections Commission (NEC.)
“We have been very clear in saying that this is one time we want total confidence in the elections; and that means you must be neutral, as the population prepares to exercise their constitutional rights at the polls,” she stressed.
The Liberian leader underscored that free, fair and transparent elections set the stage for Liberia to continue on the path of democracy, thus enabling the country to remain on the road to peace.
She added that the elections are supported by the Government of Liberia in spite of difficult financial strain being experienced. She noted Liberia did not get the kind of support anticipated from partners for the 2017 elections. She however reiterated government’s continued support to free, fair and credible elections.
However, the electoral body that comprises some of the best minds Liberia boasts of, has dogged in the heels that the elections would be as free, fair and transparent as possible, endeavoring to allays fear in some political quarters about its credibility.
President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf spoke yesterday when she commissioned the Executive Director of the National Elections Commission (NEC), C. A. Lamin Lighe. The colorful occasion took place in the James M. Fromayan Conference Hall at the Headquarters of the Commission Monrovia.
The Liberian leader used the occasion to challenge to the Commission to conduct a free, fair and transparent election come October, when the presidential and Representative Elections are held.
President Sirleaf said the October 10th 2017 elections are a defining moment for Liberia “because the elections will determine whether or not the country goes forward, and promote its democracy or if Liberia moves backward”.
At the same time, the Liberian leader said Liberians still have total confidence in the ability of the NEC to conduct free, fair and transparent election based on the number of successful and transparent By-Elections the Commission has conducted. “We know that the Commission will face challenges, mainly legal difficulties”, president Sirlaf said.
She said the government will continue to provide all the necessary assistance to the Commission to ensure that it successfully execute its constitutional mandate to conduct free, fair and credible elections.
Responding, the honoree, ED Lighe assured the President and Liberians that with the support of the Board of Commissioners and the employees on the National Elections Commission, free, fair and transparent elections is certain, one that will be based on international best practices and a result that will be accepted by the Liberian people.
Executive Director Lighe said the holding of acceptable free, fair and transparent election in Liberia will ensure the smooth transition of a democratically elected government to another democratically elected government.
Lighe promised to always justify the confidence reposed in him by President Sirleaf to serve as Executive Director.